One of my latest collections has been brewing in my mind for quite some time.
I’m sure most of us are at least vaguely aware of the wastefulness that occurs in today’s society, but it’s probably not something that is given too much thought on a daily basis. As a jewelry designer, I see “wasted” product every day that I work. Paper scraps from map cut-outs. Wire clippings from metalwork. Short segments of chain from a previously broken strand. It happens. I recycle as much of it as I possibly can, but in the back of my mind I knew that there is so much jewelry that’s tossed out, destined for the landfill without a second chance.
This got me thinking. Instead of continuously buying new materials, what else could I do?
Well, for starters, I use vintage materials whenever I can. If I can re-purpose something that’s already been in existence for decades rather than buying brand new, then I do it. I’ve actually been doing that for a long time, but I felt like I needed to do something more.. challenging.
And thus, the Upcycled Collection was born!
To design this collection, I’ve spent many hours sourcing the perfect components: vintage brooches, beads and baubles; broken necklaces and bracelets destined for the landfill; strands of vintage pearls, chains and beads that need a little TLC..
The purpose of this collection was to utilize as many old/vintage components as possible without buying anything new. Now, I do have to use some newer pieces – such as jump-rings, beading wire, and other small (but essential) pieces to hold everything together – but the bulk of the designs are composed of vintage and re-purposed parts. Many of the parts I had were broken necklaces, half-length strands of chain that had broken in the middle, vintage pearl strands that weren’t all pretty. (Of course, I didn’t use any of the ones that couldn’t be made presentable with a good cleaning.)
In the necklace below, for example, I had four jumbo metal chain links that had been removed from an old broken necklace. These links were still in good usable condition, and were a great accent to this statement piece!
The next design also contains of my FAVORITE vintage brooches! This color orange is so unusual.. not quite orange, not quite salmon.. but something in between. You’ll notice the center of the daisy is composed of teeny tiny orange and yellow flowers, with orange rhinestone centers. Beautiful!
The vintage brooches in the majority of these designs are removable. I think they look fantastic on the necklace and really add the “oomph” factor, but they’re too pretty to remain static.. they are pinned in place, and can be taken off if you want to wear just the brooch and make a more subtle statement.
I’ll admit.. it’s been a little difficult to let some of these go. (Such as the PHENOMENAL vintage brooch in the first photo – gold filigree flowers with white enamel, blue and clear rhinestones.. that piece still had its original tags on it when I found it!) Not to mention this Coro brooch; I have a weakness for Coro brooches. Perhaps it’s the rhinestones. This brooch isn’t in perfect condition, but really adds a delicate femininity to the pearl necklace (all vintage pearl strands.) It needed a little TLC first, including a replacement of the center rhinestone. Still one of my favorite pieces, regardless.
I also made a couple of longer statement pieces that could be worn on everyday occasions, such as a day at the office or a day out with your friends. If you’re a more dramatic bride, you could wear them on your wedding day! The brooches are not removable on these two designs.
I may add a couple more pieces to the collection later on, but these are the designs currently available. Each necklace is absolutely one of a kind. You can view my current pieces on my website, http://www.victoriaallison.com/Upcycled-Collection-Wedding-and-Bridal-Jewelry-s/1827.htm.
Feel free to share your thoughts!